Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz
Continued from: The next challenge – Who to put the rifle together?
So … with so little time left and so much to do before the 2013 600 yard IBS Nationals things needed to come together seamlessly.
I had the special dies.
John graciously included his fireform load and a couple of boxes of CCI 450 primers so I sat down to load. The first thing I noticed is this a tiny little cartridge compared to the 300 Win Mag I had been loading as I primed them with the CCI 450 primers.
I had picked up a small supply of Sierra #1570 107 MatchKings and put 32.7 grains of Varget in the minuscule Lapua cases using a Lyman DPS 2 electronic powder dispensing scale. As the scale dispensed a load I was seating a bullet. As I finished seating a bullet the scale beeps and I dump the charge and replace the scale pan. I had set the scale to repeat so as the pan is replaced it begins to dispense the next load and I can seat another bullet. It didn’t take long to load the 100 partially formed cases.
Rain or shine I had to go to the range and break the new Broughton 1-8″ twist barrel in so I got my cleaning rods, chemicals and other equipment together and headed to the farm. Fifty shots later the barrel was broken in, scope zeroed and I had 50 fire formed cases and 50 unfired but loaded cases.
Luckily this barrel didn’t require many one shot and clean cycles so scope zeroing, final case forming and very minor load tinkering was accomplished simultaneously. The stars aligned this day for me. So it was back home and load 50 MATCH rounds.
Here’s what I have at this point ammo wise, 50 empty fire-formed Dasher cases and 50 loaded but unfired Dasher cases. Since the fire-form load shot so well earlier I made the decision to stick with it so I would have 100 cartridges loaded with the same load BUT 50 were fire-formed and 50 were unfired and that is what I was going to shoot the match with – good, bad or indifferent.
Same exercise as the night before sort of. I had to make a decision on bushing diameter so with no time to experiment I chose the smallest knowing that it is far better to have more neck tension than too little. Snap in the Forster Bushing Die to resize and decap. Here is where I hit a snag. The primer pockets of the parent 6 BR brass were very snug. So snug in fact that I was afraid for my Lee hand-primer. As I looked around for an alternative the Forster Co-Ax Primer Seater was not bolted down so I loaded it up and started priming cases, effortlessly I might add. With 50 sized and primed fired cases it was time to get serious. Push the Lyman button, dispense some Varget and plug in a Sierra 107 MatchKings seated .030 off and get some sleep.
About now I’m sure some of you are wondering just what I had been smoking by making such an unorthodox decision as to shot a 8 target agg National match with 50 fired and 50 unfired cases. Here is my rationale, the gun shot so well with unfired cases I didn’t feel I was sacrificing a thing in accuracy and you have unlimited sighters so if there was a difference in point of impact surely I’d be able to detect that and chase it to get back to the middle of the target.
With all my ammo loaded and the truck loaded I headed East on I-70 to do battle with some of the best 600 yard shooters in the world.
I drew bench #3, Relay #1 if memory serves me. Ready on the right, ready on the left, ready on the firing line, commence fire was the line call and the game was on. My first group of the day was my best at 1.5??” shot with fired cases. Conditions collapsed and I was never able to repeat except for a target in the 4th Relay and although I totally missed the wind I had a 4 shot group right on the left edge of the target that later measured .731″ but the key is there were only 4 shots and I’m lucky to have gotten them on since one shot was not totally on paper. It takes 5 to count so I lost the agg also. But the little gun showed great promise and came in at just 12.5 pounds.
Several other things came to light during this match. First of all the point-of-impact didn’t shift like I thought it might and any required adjustment between fired and unfired was so insignificant it could have been due to prevailing conditions. It rode the bags well, tracked great and was very accurate. Now I know why this little cartridge is so popular.
Hopefully we’ll see what this new little rig will do in 2014.
I’d like to give special recognition to TomE Jacobs, 2013 Shooter of the year and owner of Vapor Trail Valley shooting range.
With all of these local guys winning, I’m thinking there must be something in that Vapor Trail Valley water.
Read more about Rich and his new gun in our blog post – First Match of 2014